It may not feel like summer, thanks to the cool clouds, but (unofficial) summer is here.
As we joyfully welcome a season spent outside, let me remind you to wear your sunscreen. Every day. Even if it's cloudy.
That said, you still may want to sport a golden glow.
Here's how to self-tan and not turn into a streaky, orange mess.
There are two prime streak culprits: uneven application, and dry skin that soaks up excess product.
To combat the later, start in the shower. Exfoliate to reveal glowing skin ready for self-tanner. I love Trader Joe's Lavender Salt Scrub, $6, for sloughing off that dead skin, but if you find the salt stings, try a sugar scrub, such as Alba Botanica Hawaiian Body Polish, $7.99 at Amazon, which offers exfoliation without the hurt.
Now that your skin is smooth, and while you're still in the shower, try one of my favorite recent discoveries: Jergens Natural Glow Wet Skin Moisturizer, $8.69 at drugstores. Smooth the product on to wet skin, then — very important! — pat dry with a towel. (If you rub, you run the risk of rubbing off the product, leading to the very unsightly streaky mess we're trying avoid.) The color builds up over a few days; once you're happy with your glow, Jergens recommends using every other day to maintain.
(Bonus recommendation: Jergens Wet Skin Moisturizer, $5.99 at drugstores, which is the same product without the self-tanner. It leaves skin soft and supple, and I'm already moisturized by the time I step out of the shower. Win-win.)
I wouldn't describe my skin as sensitive, but I wouldn't put the Jergens Natural Glow Wet Skin Moisturizer on my face, for fear of causing breakouts. To get some color on your face, try Jergens Natural Glow FACE Daily Moisturizer, $8.49 at drugstores. It's oil-free and specially formulated not to clog pores.
Looking for full-blown color and you want it now? My very favorite self-tanner, forever and ever, amen, is St. Tropez Tanning Essentials Self Tan Express Bronzing Mousse, $44 at Sephora. It develops in as little as an hour, never looks orange, and lasts about a week. To avoid streaks, apply the self-tanner with a mitt such as the St. Tropez Tanning Essentials Tan Applicator Mitt, $6.50 at Sephora. Keep the product on for up to three hours, depending on how dark a tan you're seeking, then rinse off in the shower. Bonus: The early shower means no self-tanner smell.